From Bridget Jones’s Diary:

(Her uncle): Come on, let’s get you a drink. How’s your love life, anyway?

(Bridget (to herself)): Oh God. Why can’t married people understand that this is no longer a polite question to ask? We wouldn’t rush up to them and roar, “How’s your marriage going? Still having sex?”

Well, first off, I totally want to start doing that, because that would be AWESOME, but while we are on the subject, here is a helpful list I compiled, entitled:

10 Ways To Avoid, If Not Awkwardness, Then At Least Unoriginal Awkwardness!

1. Keeping with the married-or-not theme, don’t say, “How’s married life?” It’s like, what kind of answer are you expecting there, you know? Either the answer is “Good,” which ends the conversation right there anyway, or you get the Oversharer who will tell you exactly why s/he hates his/her life, and you just don’t want to be on the receiving end of that conversation.

2. Don’t touch a pregnant woman’s belly without permission. That isn’t even an original one, but it’s amazing how many people do not seem to know this. But seriously! It’s like, you wouldn’t walk up to a non-pregnant woman and just rub her abdomen, assuming you are not on the bus in Oneonta, and you wouldn’t walk up to a woman’s newborn and start rubbing its face, so like, just CONTROL yourselves.

3. If you are in a restaurant, say Boulder Creek, and your food is running late, don’t go, “Are they out slaughtering the cow! Har har har har har!” because not only is that not funny, but that is just unsettling on a whole other level, and makes me feel like Silvio on “The Sopranos.”

4. Don’t LAUGH at someone while they’re working. I have enough problems without being outwardly guffawed at while cleaning tables because it is my job, like I’m probably smarter than you anyway if you are obnoxious enough to laugh at someone ’cause their job is blue-collar, and furthermore, I don’t go visit the insurance company and point and laugh at your clerical ass.

5. You know how Peek-a-boo is a hilarious game because it makes babies seem like the dude from “Memento?” Only cuter, and a bit more dumb? Well, keep that in mind when I say that breasts might yield a lot of power in some circuits, but they are not actually magical orbs that obstruct things like one’s vision. Just because I am not ACTIVELY LOOKING AT YOUR FACE does not mean that I — excuse me…one…cannot see you looking. I know it happens, but I’m just saying stop acting like you’re all stealth and clever about it, you know?

6. Unless you are mad close to someone, don’t go, “You look tired.” You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and go, “My God, you are unattractive,” so don’t tell your waitress or cashier that s/he looks tired. Unless you are just one of those super-sympathetic mother bear types, in which case much more is forgiven, ’cause your life is much tougher due to all the empathy baggage.

7. Also, don’t make vague comments about one’s appearance, like, don’t say, “You got a haircut,” and leave it at that, because was it a bad decision or what! Say something nice, or nothing, or even bad if you’re sassy enough to pull that off, but say SOMEthing here.

8. Meanwhile, don’t be all, “You look different,” because self-identity is hard enough to establish without worrying that someone else can see into your soul and won’t explain what’s going on.

9. And finally on that note, it is fine and appreciated to acknowledge positive weight loss, but don’t be all obvious that you’re saying, “You lost weight!” but with your eyes, you are all, “Thank GOD.” That’s how Tracy Gold got anorexia.

10. I am a vegetarian at heart who gets sick if she doesn’t eat meat (This has changed! ~ Future Me), so I’ve been on both sides of this issue and feel I have enough objectivity to say, don’t launch into a diatribe on why meat is murder if you are a vegetarian, and on the flip side, if you find out someone is a vegetarian, don’t pull out your list of why that isn’t natural or healthy. I mean, if you are a meat eater who is concerned because your SO is being vegetarian by eating only cheese and French fries, then you can say something. And if you are a vegetarian who really cannot watch your SO eat a rare steak without feeling like you are all of a sudden in a scene from “Sin City,” then say something then, too. But if you meet up with a friend for lunch and she wants to get a garden burger, just calm down and talk about something else. Ask her how her love life is.

© July 8, 2007

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